Wow, what a weekend! Saturday, I spent all day hem hawing around over how I was going to do the garden tomatoes I had. I’ve never canned before so I was very nervous and afraid I was going to screw it up. So after researching different blogs (I really like this one for tomatoes) and reading my Ball Canning Book, I decided I was ready to go!
I first decided I was going to make sauce, since we bought Norpro Sauce Maker a couple of week ago in pre-planning for our canning adventures! I thought this would be easier since you don’t have to peel or cut out the center. Kind of saves a boiling step. It seemed less intimidating for a rookie canner!
This is what it looks like put together. There are a few steps involved in doing this. Very easy as I was able to do it in just a few minutes.
You cut the tomatoes into quarters. You put it in the white plastic bin thing. You then press down on the tomatoes with the red plastic poker.
Start Cranking it…the sauce will start coming out.
All the gunk will come out the other end – be sure you have a small bowl waiting!
After a few minutes, you will have sauce! It seemed like I used a ton of tomatoes for what little sauce I ended up!
Boil the sauce for around 5 minutes (you can add your favorite seasonings at that step if you want!). Then, I canned them according to the canning instructions. (I.e. adding 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to my pint jar, filling with 1/2″ header space, and then boiling it in a big stockpot for 40 minutes.) I ended up with 2 whole jars of sauce – ha ha. I thought to myself, all that work for THAT!!!! Next time, I’m sure I will be more efficient now that I know what I am doing.
I also diced tomatoes. I thought I was having some problems peeling them but I found this great blog that said to mark an X on the bottom of the tomatoes and peel from there. This tip proved to make my job much easier! I ended up with 4 jars of diced tomatoes. I used yellow and red tomatoes. I boiled the diced tomatoes for 5 minutes before canning them. Next time I might try adding some seasonings for different kinds of tomatoes.
Looks like we will have more tomatoes ready in our garden next week! Now that I sort of know what I’m doing, it should be much easier! Maybe, I will buy the salsa screen for the Norpro and try my hand at salsa!
Sunday. Ah, what a day. We went to mass and then went home and changed into our play clothes (ha ha). We drove to my Grandma & Grandpa’s and picked a TON of sweet corn. Every year, they plant a patch of sweet corn. A few years so much of it has gone to waste. We didn’t want that to happen this year. Ending up with muddy feet and corn rash on my arms (oh brings back those wonderful memories of detassling), we came home with two HUGE garbage sacks full of corn! There is so much more to pick too! (This pictures is just ONE of the sacks and some of the overflow that we didn’t put into a sack.) Later we estimated that we had around 160 ears or so!
Trying to make my job easier, I asked the kids to husk them & desilk them. I tried offering a $1 and ice cream. They negotiated and I raised the stakes to $2 and ice cream w/cones. YAY! So….
The kids worked very hard. They earned every penny of their $2 in my little corn sweat shop. They husked the corn for around 2 hours off and on. I’m really impressed. They were all so helpful. Even coming up with their own ideas of using a laundry basket to transport the corn to the kitchen.
So here’s how I did it. I had two pots boiling at once. Later I added a third to speed things up.
I added 10-12 ears per pot. Once the water came to a nice boil, I started timing it. Around 7 minutes is all it took.
While this was going on, I filled one side of my sink with cold water and added ice cubes to it.
After the corn was done boiling, I placed it in the cold water for around 7 minutes. They say leave it in the cold water for the same amount of time that you boiled it.
I then prelabeled a whole pack of freezer bags. Yes, I know, doh, I didn’t have to mark “Corn” on it. But I was having some fun with my sharpie.
I used a utility knife to cut the corn off the cob.
I had a bag sitting near the cutting board for the trash. (I would recommend a plastic trash bag, though. The paper wasn’t a good idea. The corn was still moist and ended up breaking the bag and then we HE had a huge mess to clean up outside.)
We put the cut corn in freezer bags, mooshed it down so there was very little air. (I really want a Food Saver for next year!!!) We ended up with around 40 freezer bags (quart size) of corn. The whole family participated in making this possibly. Our oldest daughter, even helped bag the corn after the husking was done.
Overall, it was a fun family day. It also saved us money because we were home and weren’t out doing something like our favorite thing to do on Sundays – shopping! It also is nice to have farm fresh veggies in our freezer and pantry. I know what is in them and they will taste so yummy this fall/winter/spring.